Howls of outrage rose over the country last week. A general outcry. ‘How dare they?’ ‘The Nanny state gone mad!’ and that was just in a usually sensible newspaper, The Guardian, so who knows how it was covered elsewhere. What had happened? Had we all finally had enough of cuts, austerity, MP expense scandals and the lies and cruelty emanating from our politicians?
Well no. A group of nutritional experts had stated something that most of us knew but refused to do anything about – vegetables are good for us and we should be eating more. Seven a day is the new five a day and doesn’t everyone hate the idea?
The only legitimate criticism of this recommendation (and that’s all it was people, if you want to end your days in a glut of obesity then no one’s forcing you to eat broccoli, just calm down about the nanny state, yeah?) was that it may be difficult for poor people to do this because fruit and veg are expensive. Of course if nutritional experts started out by stating that what’s needed is some way around this they’d get yelled at for interfering in areas beyond their control. They can’t win. And even then I’m not convinced it’s actually a good claim. No one seems willing to try it out and see how easy/ difficult it is, on a limited budget, in a family with two working adults.
So clearly this is where I come in. I am going to try it for a while and see how hard it is. There are a number of problems here.
- I have no idea how much fruit or veg is a portion and must therefore read up on nutritional guidance.
- I don’t do our shopping till Thursday with delivery of it on Saturday so this first week will probably be a failure though that does give me time to research recipes, portions and current eating habits.
- Things I’ve thought of to snack on (carrot sticks/ celery/ raw pepper) are all revolting and I don’t like them. So this won’t be as straightforward as we thought.
- If anything gets too expensive I will just cop out. But I’ll tell you about it and why.
I can’t do anything to change E’s diet at nursery so that’s one thing out. But we’ll see how we get on otherwise.
For the record today I have eaten:
- one apple and a handful of grapes with muesli and yoghurt for breakfast
- a helping of stew which contained some tomatoes and frozen peppers
- a small portion of spinach and mushroom lasagna
- a slice of rhubarb struesel pie
That’s potentially five portions, though as I said earlier, I don’t know about amounts so it may be less. And it was a very small portion of lasagna, so let’s say four today for the sake of argument.
I’m also in the middle of Lent where I’ve given up snacking at work (too many biscuits = half a stone in six months) and now the weather’s improving I’m trying to exercise more (though fitting it all in when I do 9 1/2 hours days at work or have E with me is proving a challenge) so this does fit with a me that’s trying not to enter her middle age with excess fat. I’ll be older than all the mums at E’s school, I need not to embarrass myself in the Mum’s race on Sports Day.